Article: In conversation with talent leaders: 5 most read interviews from 2020


In conversation with talent leaders: 5 most read interviews from 2020

Talent leaders around the globe have had a tumultuous 2020. They generously shared their perspectives and experiences in conversations throughout the year, and we now bring you some of the most read of these.
In conversation with talent leaders: 5 most read interviews from 2020

2020 was the year when HR was thrust into the spotlight, taking on new responsibilities, new considerations, and a whole lot more work as organizations struggled to deal with the onslaught of COVID-19.

It was also the year when first technology, then employee well-being, and then the entire art and science of people management, took on far more importance and suddenly accelerated—with organizations implementing five years' worth of planning in a handful of months.

Over the course of the year, People Matters spoke with dozens of HR and business leaders from around the globe, gathering their insights into the situation and their priorities for the future. Here, we highlight some of the conversations that drew the most views.

Digitization, Automation, and Security are the key components of the new normal

“The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the IT agenda,” said Ruma Balasubramanian, Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, APJC, Cisco. “Digital transformation is not a 'nice to have' option anymore. What was once deemed as the 'future of work' has turned into a current reality almost overnight.”

As COVID 19 drove people out of the office, she pointed out that the rush to remote work has forced companies to make massive changes to their operations. Technology is central to most of these changes: companies need the flexibility and mobility that digital transformation brings. And for many organizations, that will also change the way they plan for the future.

Read the full interview here.

Companies that succeed amid COVID-19 will be those that prioritize people

“We have an obligation to empower our teams to lead, to be inclusive, to innovate, and to learn,” said Donna Morris, Chief People Officer of Walmart. “At the end of the day, we want to attract and retain the best of the best, and our strategies should support and reflect that.”

Once the initial rush to overhaul operations had subsided, she explained, people's mindset began to change as well. The focus is now on growing careers, investing in people, and empowering teams to be inclusive and to innovate, because it is people who will drive the company into the future.

Read the full interview here.

Self-care has become an imperative in our people support

“In the last two months, we have had to evolve our approach with sustainability being the key in the way we undertake our crisis management efforts and our people support,” said Melanie Coate, the Regional Head of Human Resources for Bloomberg in the Asia Pacific.

While the initial logistics of getting everyone settled into a virtual working environment might have been primarily technological, it also involved aspects of mental health, she recounted. And the longer the situation continued, the more emphasis on mental health had to increase, in order to ensure that this way of working is sustainable.

Read the full interview here.

Company culture can't be put in a box or dictated

“In an ever-changing world and marketplace, we must rethink the conversation around corporate culture and constantly ask ourselves not, What should our culture be?' but rather, 'What can I be doing to inspire our people and to be a true steward of an evergreen culture of success?'” said David Rodriguez, the Executive Vice President & Global Chief HR Officer at Marriott International.

Although this conversation was held before the full impact of COVID-19 hit, the message is all the more important today as organizations grapple with building community among a physically distant workforce: culture is about how core values are lived in day-to-day activities.

Read the full interview here.

Our focus is on creating an employee-first culture

“During a crisis, it's necessary to adjust organizational, team, and individual goals, for both workforce and market-related reasons. To adjust to this shift, companies will have to change the way they evaluate employees,” said Anja Hamilton, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Poly.

HR's focus during this stressful period, she pointed out, should be towards supporting and safeguarding employee well-being—and that involves putting employees first in everything from how policies are designed to the creation of a consistent work experience.

Read the full interview here.

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Topics: C-Suite, #Rewind2020

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